Taylor Swift 1989
1989- 2014(Big Machine)
13 tracks
run time 0:48:13
Reviewed by Michael Rampa

Subtlety is generally lost on Taylor Swift.  It’s not as if she needed a Rolling Stone cover and a live press conference from the Empire State building to cement her official status as a pop star. Following suit, her latest release, “1989” is a 13 track collection of straight up retro gloss. The result is an album that has found a spot on several of the Billboard charts, except country. Although this is officially her first pop album, some country purists may consider it her fifth (in her five album discography).  She has long been accused of simply adding banjo and fiddle to pop songs. As if to prove a point, there is no hint of country instrumentation or themes over these 48 minutes.

She cements her status as an A list songwriter on the autobiographical opener, “Welcome To New York.”  She performs it with the conviction of a native rather than a recent transplant. The chorus rings with the bravado of a Sinatra classic.

The public has long been deluged with the radio ready lead single, “Shake It Off.” It is a virtual clone of her previous chart topper, “We Are Never Getting Back Together” and already a dance club staple.

Even with its contemporary sound, the 25-year old still draws from older references, notably the “James Dean day-dream look in your eye” in the humorously titled “Style.”

Signs of the old romantically challenged Swift surface  in “Blank Space.”


“Got a long list of ex-lovers

They’ll tell you I’m insane

‘Cause you know I love the players

And you love the game”<P>Some have dubbed the album “a radical departure.” While it finalizes her divorce from the genre that launched her to global superstardom, It feels more like a smooth transition to a different realm where she actually feels more at home.